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Friday, April 27, 2012
Cowboys stick with defense, take Crawford

By Dan Graziano

They sat out the second round after trading up to take cornerback Morris Claiborne in the first, and when the Dallas Cowboys came back on the clock they were still thinking defense. With the 19th pick of the third round of the draft (81st overall), the Cowboys picked Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford.

Crawford is a project pick. Most of the scouting reports had 4-3 defensive end as his best fit, with potential to develop into a good 3-4 end. He's not an impact pass-rusher, at least not right away, and is better against the run. But he's got long arms and a big frame and potential to grow into a better pro player as time goes along and he's coached by Rob Ryan and the rest of the Dallas defensive staff.

I don't see this as a move that would allow them to part with Kenyon Coleman or Marcus Spears for salary cap relief, but assuming it's a player in whom they see big potential, the Cowboys are wise to be stocking up on depth in their defensive front. There are decisions and potential changes looming on the defensive line in Dallas in the coming years, and this is a player who could be major asset if he takes the next step he needs to take as a pro.

It was my opinion that the Cowboys needed to find three defensive starters in the first three rounds. After they made the deal to move up to get Claiborne, the best they could do was two. Crawford may not be a starter right away, but he's certainly got a chance to be down the road. Good depth move.

As for that second round, the obvious pick the Cowboys could have made had they not traded up and kept pick No. 45 was not a defensive player but rather Wisconsin's Peter Konz, the draft's best center, who lasted until Atlanta at No. 55. Konz would have solidified the Dallas offensive line at their biggest position of need there, but to stay in position to take him they would have had to sit tight at 14 in the first round and be content with a defensive lineman such as Michael Brockers. I still contend that this would have been a wiser way to go, but the Cowboys believe Claiborne is an elite talent, and if he turns out to be, they'll be happy with the deal they made.